Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris
Coronavirus (and other infectious diseases) & Travel
Page Updated: December 29th, 2023
Coronavirus (and other infectious diseases) & Travel FAQS
As of 2024, the travel industry has largely stabilized, and there are important lessons learned about reducing risks for contracting or spreading COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses while traveling. We value you as members of our extended family so your safety, security, and overall experience have been, and always will be, our top priority. We want to keep you informed and prepared for anything before, during, and after your trip, so please help us minimize the spread of COVID (and similar illnesses), so we can remain able and excited to share the world’s wonders with you!
Below are some answers to some frequently asked questions. And our expert team is always there to provide their guidance for other travel-related questions.
Testing and Vaccinations
We travel to remote areas where becoming severely ill may put you, our traveler, quite far from facilities that can manage your care. Our ultimate goal is to prevent severe illness while on our trips such that if you are showing any COVID-like symptoms, you do not require immediate evacuation for intensive treatment. We periodically check the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ website, and their May 11, 2023 update continues to say the chance of severe illness is greater for those who are unvaccinated even if they have had a previous infection.
- Follow the CDC guidelines is what we recommend all our travelers and leaders to stay up to date on COVID-19 and flu vaccines.
- Wear a high-quality mask in poorly ventilated indoor areas during your flights and transportation while traveling to/from your destination.
- Wash your hands frequently (especially if touching your face). Use refillable hand sanitizer options to eliminate plastic waste.
- Purchase travel insurance that covers you for any COVID-related costs should you contract COVID before or during your trip. See our Travel Insurance webpage for more information.
How To Keep Up
We work hard to keep you up to date so you can more easily plan for your destination country’s various requirements. However, it is ultimately you who must be current on any requirements based on your travel route including, but not limited to, layover locations.
Country Entry Requirements
Though there are currently no specific rules for testing, vaccination, or isolation & quarantine, requirements can change at any time. Please check requirements well ahead of your departure and also directly beforehand. We’ve found these sites handy, although the nuances of each country’s requirements are less frequently updated:
- STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) – US Citizens should enroll to get travel updates, which may or may not include COVID-related changes.
- US Embassy for your destination country and your flight route – US Citizens should check these periodically as their trip approaches for entry requirements, insurance requirements, and specific COVID-related requirements.
- Sherpa and Kayak – These tools can help you navigate travel requirements by destination, but always verify them!
- Book flights and lodging that offer flexibility and no-fee cancellations/changes along your travel route if possible. Read the fine print. This can help if you get ill before or during travel.
- Check if your health insurance covers the costs for possible treatment If you test positive while traveling.. Medicare does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the United States. Know your own health plan and call your provider with any questions before you go.
- Travel insurance can insure you against a variety of travel complications including delays and cancellations, but you will need to look specifically for a company that will cover COVID-19 related cancellations, delays, medical care, hospitalization, and hotel quarantine. Some destinations may require this insurance for entry. See our Travel Insurance page for more information.
If I or another fellow trip member gets COVID while traveling
If You Feel Ill
Notify leaders and ship doctor (if applicable). They can help guide you through local protocols and notify others who may have been exposed to limit the spread. Check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. They provide a list of international resources which includes contacts to help travelers locate international medical services and providers, if needed.
How To Prepare
Preparing beforehand is important. Having good travel insurance, knowing what your health insurance covers, having an extra one to two weeks of prescription medication in case you do need to stay longer due to illness are all savvy traveler practices at any time.
Test Kit & Masks
These items will prove invaluable if you or a member of your travel group tests positive.
If You Test Positive
If you were forced to cancel the trip due to illness (COVID-19), CES’s normal cancellation and transfer fee schedule would apply. We strongly urge all of our travelers to purchase travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage. A doctor’s determination that you cannot travel due to contracting COVID is typically considered a covered reason by most insurance companies for trip cancellation or interruption, and you would be eligible to file a claim to receive reimbursement for the prepaid and non-refundable insured trip. Please contact your insurance company directly for any insurance-related questions.
Continuing Your Trip
Infected travelers (COVID or non) are recommended but not required to stay in their hotel room, have meals away from non-infected travelers, and minimize contact in enclosed spaces with other travelers and leaders. There is no requirement to go into isolation unless strictly indicated by a doctor or medical advisor. The trip leader will assess and determine further accommodations as necessary.
Travelers exhibiting symptoms commonly associated with an infectious respiratory illness (such as a cold, flu, COVID-19, etc.) while on a CES trip will be kindly asked to wear an N95/KN95 face mask in enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces and respect safe distances from other travelers as possible.